Ross Siler Blog - Wednesday Report
Ross Siler Blog - Wednesday Extras
The Lakers had what Kurt Rambis called a ``tedious'' and ``dry'' practice Wednesday going over the terminology and basics of the triangle offense. Rambis doubted Phil Jackson would either enjoy or be able to stay awake if he watched the tape of practice, as the Lakers said would be available to the coach as he recovers from hip-replacement surgery.
Here's the story for Wednesday. It's worth remembering that the Lakers have almost $71 million invested in Lamar Odom and Vladimir Radmanovic being able to play together the next couple of seasons.
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO--The rule was drilled into his head so many times last season - - ``Don’t leave Vladimir Radmanovic open, no matter what’’ - - that Lakers forward Lamar Odom had no trouble recalling it in talking about his newest teammate Wednesday.
It also was easier said than done, as Odom learned, especially during a Feb. 24 game in which Radmanovic connected on five 3-pointers and scored 19 points against the Lakers.
The next time the Lakers played the Clippers, coach Phil Jackson abandoned the idea of having Odom cover Radmanovic altogether. Jackson started Luke Walton on Radmanovic and took his chances by matching up Odom against Elton Brand.
If Odom had trouble chasing Radmanovic all over the floor, Jackson reasoned, maybe he at least could make things a little difficult for Brand on the offensive end.
Six months later, the Lakers’ new problem is how best to integrate Odom and Radmanovic in a lineup. They have one of the league’s most dynamic players in Odom and one of the league’s most unstoppable shooters in Radmanovic.
The Lakers hope the mismatches Odom and Radmanovic create on offense - - with Odom capable of posting triple-doubles and Radmanovic capable of hitting any shot on the floor - - will compensate for the mismatches they will face on defense.
``Wherever he is, that’s where I’m going to drive the basketball,’’ Odom said. ``Hopefully, his man stays. If he doesn’t, then I’ll average two or three more assists with that guy on my team.’’
The problem with playing a lineup with Odom and Radmanovic comes on the defensive end, where one of the two would have to match up against a bigger power forward and the other against a faster small forward.
Radmanovic gained a reputation as a one-dimensional shooter at his previous NBA stops. But Radmanovic acquitted himself well on defense during the Lakers’ first training camp practice Tuesday, according to assistant Kurt Rambis.
He moved his feet well, used his size and was aggressive. Rambis added that he smiled after telling Radmanovic he gave him more than he expected as a defender. The coach worried Radmanovic might consider it an insult.
``He wants to be good,’’ Rambis said. ``You can tell that his mindset is to play offense, but he also understands that he’s got a responsibility at the defensive end.’’
Radmanovic said: ``That’s our focus right now. I think we all should concentrate on that. I know our offense is going to come with the triangle offense the coach wants us to run. But defense we have to get better in order to be a better team.’’
Odom, meanwhile, thrives by creating mismatches on offense. If he has a smaller player on him, Odom can use his size and go to work inside. If he has a bigger player on him, Odom can draw him out to the perimeter.
``We’re going to apply a lot of pressure offensively,’’ Odom said. ``In this league, what you’ve seen with the Phoenix Suns, their offense is their defense.’’
The Lakers envision taking advantage of their versatility by playing lineups big and small, finding the mismatch on offense and switching regularly on defense. Odom talked Wednesday about a lineup with both Radmanovic and Brian Cook on the floor.
That would give the Lakers two shooting forwards that opposing teams would have to cover, leaving them less likely to commit a second defender to stopping Kobe Bryant.
With so many ball-handling guards on the roster, Odom wasn’t sure if he would initiate the offense from the backcourt as much as he did last season. He added that his only worry in defending bigger forwards was picking up fouls.
Also: Jackson was released from the hospital Wednesday after having his right hip replaced the day before. . . . .Guard Smush Parker sat out practice after spraining his right shoulder in practice Tuesday.
We got the chance to pick up a little bit with Smush Parker, who was last seen going 7 for 37 in the final four games of the Lakers' first-round playoff loss to Phoenix.
Maybe Parker was exhausted at the end of his first full NBA season, maybe he was overmatched being in the playoffs for the first time, but he was in as deep a slump as a player could be that series. He missed 22 of 26 3-pointers when everything was said and done.
He was asked Wednesday if he dwelled on how he played into the summer.
``I didn’t dwell on it,'' Parker said. ``It was unfortunate that we didn’t advance like we should have. It was a learning experience for me, it was a learning experience for my teammates, it was a learning experience for the Lakers.
``We’re going to be a better team this year because of it, and I’m going to be a better player because of my experience last year.’’
Parker said he worked on his mid-range game in the off-season and wants to take on more of a point-guard mentality now that he has established himself in the league.
He sat out practice Wednesday, however, after spraining his right shoulder the day before. Parker collided with Brian Cook as both players hustled after a loose ball. That left Kobe Bryant, Chris Mihm and Parker all on the sidelines. Those three players combined to start 218 games last season.
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Assistant coach Kurt Rambis on the development of rookie center Andrew Bynum:
You can just look at Andrew and see he’s improved his body. He still has a long way to go in terms of the knowledge he has to have in order to have success out there on the floor. But he needs to play, he needs playing time. That’s what’s going to help him the best.''
Rambis said Bynum does a good job in learning and trying to do the right things. He also said Bynum no longer has the "puppy-like'' look to his body from last season. The Lakers are trying to get Bynum to shorten his movements and be a more explosive player around the basket.
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We worried that Lamar Odom's head might explode when he was asked which team he would take in a potential Subway Series between the Yankees and the Mets. Odom can shift effortlessly from talking about one team to the other while using the word ``we'' the entire time.
Odom gave us a history lesson about the teams and how their additions of black and Hispanic players endeared them to different communities over the years. He then declared, ``I'm going with grandma.'' His grandmother was a longtime Mets fan, he said.
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Odom also said the memory of the Lakers' playoff loss to Phoenix was still fresh.
``Everyone here in the back of their mind is saying 3-1, 3-1, 3-1, 3-1,'' Odom said.